“Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
Merriam-Webster defines “invulnerable” as “impossible to harm, damage or defeat.” We are taught at a young age that we have to be tough, that we have to win, that showing any vulnerability is a sign of weakness and frailty. So we carry that defensive nature into our lives and relationships, both at work and at home. Instead of accepting that we are all vulnerable we seek to be invulnerable with those around us.
Perhaps this is changing? The usage of the word “vulnerable” has certainly become more prevalent over the past few decades. Not bad for a word that has it’s root origination in the Latin noun “vulnus” meaning “wound.” (Finally all my college Latin courses are paying off!!)
Usage of “vulnerable”
But lets contrast “invulnerability” with “trust” which is defined as “allow someone to have, use, or look after (someone or something of importance or value) with confidence.”
How do you know when you trust someone? What does it feel like? For me it is the feeling of safety. That it is okay if I’m not perfect and it is safe to expose my vulnerabilities for the purpose of achieving a greater good. When I trust my teammates I am confident that they care, first and foremost, about achieving our shared goals and purpose.
Hmm, now that I think about it maybe “invulnerability” isn’t such a bad thing. If a team has a high degree of trust with each other I think they just might be a team that is “impossible to harm, damage or defeat…”